Paranoia seems to pervade every aspect of Zomby’s life, so I didn’t even attempt to go through his publicist to arrange this interview. Not only does he keep his identity a secret, he wouldn’t let his dog be included in a photograph, explaining that an ex-girlfriend had been stalking him. Considering the low probability, I was elated to see a reply from the mysterious producer agreeing to my interview request on Twitter.
Last December, I met Zomby in the lounge of the Bowery Hotel in New York City. We discussed his working class upbringing in London, the various countries he’s lived in since (Spain, France, and now, the U.S.), and his deep-rooted fixation with grime and hardcore, which first inspired him to become a producer. If you’re not familiar with the UK producer, he’s arguably the closest thing this generation has to Aphex Twin, releasing a prodigious stream of challenging, yet beautiful electronic music since his first outing in 2007.
During our interview, Cameron Diaz sat down at a nearbly table and much champagne was consumed, the tone of the interview bordering on casual conversation. After the interview, he bombarded me with requests for a transcript, worried that he’d talked shit about certain rappers and producers, which wasn’t really the case. We briefly discussed the overtly commercial sheen of trap music and EDM, and the over-eagerness of some producers to collaborate with rappers and score a hit.
While admittedly touchy territory for anyone trying to steer clear of beef, I think you’ll gather the same impression that I did, which is that Zomby is actually a pretty friendly, down-to-earth guy. He just happens to have high standards and strong convictions, traits that are frequently written off as bitterness in the age of “haters” and “YOLO.” Though in no way do I feel he came off as bitter, he preferred that the interview not be published. We decided to run it anyway. — Aaron Frank
One thing that strikes me most about your music is the breadth of influences. Can you tell me about some of the artists that initially struck you or had an impact in your youth?
I prefer different structures in music, or maybe I’m just not overt about it. And they’re all good so I can actually talk about them, whereas some guys used to listen to Slipknot or whatever. I have a lot of influences though. Things you’d sing at school or whatever.
When you’re coming up to 10 years old or you get a little bit older, you’re getting your own mind in that way and you’re starting to develop a taste for yourself. Probably just stuff that came on the radio, from Bomb the Bass to The Smiths, Massive Attack, typical stuff. You start to get in to hand-me-downs too and exploring different eras.
When I started to buy records at 13 or 14, it was hardcore or jungle, or hip-hop and stuff like that, like Wu-Tang, Biggie, 2Pac. I was just obsessed by music really, so I would try to get everything, but definitely not indie guitar bands and stuff like that. I never had the ear for that. My ear has always been towards what’s now become generalized as electronic music. I don’t have an aversion to guitars or whatever. I compose most of my stuff on a piano, so it’s not like I see the devil in acoustic instruments.
As far as electronic music, do you remember what it was that made you latch on to that particular style?
I think it’s gone a bit over the top with the whole electronic thing, obviously because people need shit to market or whatever. But these are all staples to me, things like house, jungle, hardcore, hip-hop, R&B to an extent. The only new addition is grime really. Everything else is like pillars set in stone. They aren’t going anywhere.
My brother is well versed in all of those sounds and all the artists as well. Most of my friends are. We grew up listening to Sasha and Digweed the same way we grew up listening to like Biggie and Wu-Tang. We sat on the school bus rapping Wu-Tang lyrics. I realize now, being an adult and meeting so many people from different places that not everyone grew up like that.
I think tastes have become slightly more refined though, at least among people that grew up with the Internet.
It seems so. With the Internet, I think that’s definitely come out, because certain artists can have a real life and never even release a record, but still find an audience and be credible. Me, I want to release records. If you’re an artist, you want your stuff in galleries or you want to put things in museums, the same way you want things in record shops. I’m never satisfied with just the Internet.
My first interaction with the Internet was actually trying to get tunes to pirate radio, but this DJ never gave his phone number out. So the first time he gave out an email address, I went to an Internet café with my girlfriend, and she set me up an email address. Then I uploaded the tunes and sent them to him.
When did your songs first surface on the Internet or pirate radio then?
I had them running around on pirates first, then I made a few that were slightly more normal and Mary Anne Hobbs picked up on them and asked me for them. She showed me stuff like the Dubstep Forum and some shit on the Internet. I didn’t really give a fuck to be honest, but she played the shit on the radio, and I guess that was the time they hit the Internet as a response to that.
People wanted me to get on MySpace and stuff like that, but at the time I was really just interested in making grime or whatever. Dubstep was really kind of forming at that time and then everything sort of folded in to that. Then, I started to make garage, met Burial, started to make grime and then this really cold garage stuff. Kode9 and Burial picked up on it.
How did you first link up with Burial and Kode9?
I think Burial sent my stuff to Steve (Kode9) and they chose some songs to put out. I think it was like 07 or 08. I’ve been writing since about 2005. I had a record shop with a couple of my friends, and I’d stay there and fuck around on a laptop and whatever.
I didn’t really bother with the record shop, but then I moved to Barcelona and the guy I was living with had Fruity and Reason on the laptop. So I fucked around with it and made a beat real quick, then I flew back to London a week later and just cracked on. That’s been it. That was the start.
What made you want to move to Barcelona?
I was really trying to behave. Music was really good for me in that way. I think I was really headed in to some other way of life. I was involved in all sorts of things, and I knew it was going that way, so I consciously moved to Barcelona, like I’m gonna get myself out of this situation.
It was only a 50 or 60 quid easyJet ticket from London. I got a good job and cracked on. I was actually working on the stock market. You have to understand how different and weird people’s paths can be. Sometimes you can’t believe what people are doing or have been up to.
I’ve read about a couple people from school on the news lately. That’s the weirdest thing for me, seeing who ends up in trouble with law and who ends up making something of themselves.
You can really get caught out on some shit. I mean, I’ve been stabbed on train bridges at four in the morning before mobile phones, before CCTV was around, before iChat and everything. I’ve been stabbed twice.
How did that happen?
It was when I moved to France when I was 17. They’ve got some mad racial issues going on. I’m not involved in any of that really. I know it sucks. Fair enough, but I’ve got my own issues.
I’m working class England. Even when I go in to Harrods, I’ve got people following me around. I’ve said that in interviews before, but it still happens now, even since that interview two years ago. It’s just how it is. You can’t wash it off. You’re born with it, aren’t you? That’s who you are and it’s not a good or a bad thing. It just is what it is.
Do you think growing up with that working class background instills a certain type of work ethic, no matter what career you fall in to?
Yeah, there’s a different way of life where it’s weirdly 24 hours. You can wake up at 5 in the morning and start doing something. You don’t really have any kind of normal clock or whatever.
I’m always banging on about Balmain and all this shit all the time, so obviously I’m a trust-fund kid, but that’s really not the clue. We used to sell so much fuckin drugs to buy that gear. We didn’t grow up with credit cards to go to boutiques with. We grew up with scales and we’d drive down the motorway, sell a load of fuckin weed, drive back to London and then go Harrods.
What I was saying about my brother, they weren’t like candy ravers doing E’s and stuff like that. They were mostly football leaguers and they were pretty fuckin real lads. They’re all well-educated clever lads, but they’re from a certain area where you’ve got a lot of pride or whatever. And it’s not really about being a thug or being an idiot. It’s about having pride and not being misinformed in a certain sense.
I didn’t grow up particularly rich, but it was a happy proud family. It was like, we’re gonna write music. It’s all good, just normal really. Obviously, I meet kids in New York that are super rich. They come out here to study and their parents just buy them an apartment like it’s nothing. So when it comes down to it, I’m up early in the morning working and I don’t mind. It’s those kind of things that are kind of woven in to your whole ethic as a person really.
But that has to feel sort of limiting as a kid. Coming from any type of relatively underprivileged background, you have to feel like there’s a ceiling or at least feel that sense of struggle a bit deeper.
I did find myself quite aggressive as a kid actually. Some people grow up quite content, where there’s never really any pressure. I knew that if I fucked up, I wasn’t really in a great position anyway, so because of that you kind of find yourself on the edge of your seat a bit. Not in an anxious sense, but just ready to go in a way.
When I started to DJ and put out albums is when I started to relax a bit. That was good therapy. I just taught myself the piano. My dad tried to teach me the guitar and the piano and all that sort of stuff as a kid. I wasn’t big enough to hold a guitar really. My arms were too small at that age, but when I got old enough to hold one, I wasn’t interested in guitar. I wanted to play synths and program drum machines and stuff. By then, I already knew how to play keys. I can see it visually like that.
Did you know music was something you were going to pursue from an early age? I know your dad was a musician and you mentioned your brother.
I had a go loads of times when I was a kid. My dad was a songwriter, so we always had stuff flying about. I was playing synth on to a reel-to-reel. I was splicing tape at an early age, trying to work out tape edits. Just making like weird pause button mixtapes on a little Akai twin tape deck. I remember getting some decks for my 13th birthday for all the records I collected up to then.
I had synths in my bedroom and it seemed really normal, but now it’s like, yeah that’s pretty rad. It could’ve happened either way. I could’ve gone to university and gotten a stupid degree in something and been working at a bank and had a good prosperous normal life. But for me, I was either gonna play football or write music and that was really it.
Do you remember when you first started playing gigs?
I didn’t really ever get a regular slot (on pirates). I played a little show in my hometown when I was probably like 14, played a little bit of jungle. I used to play in a club in town as well when I was about 14. My brother would come down with me, and my dad would pick us up at like three in the morning.
By the time I hit high school, I was completely surrounded by jungle and hardcore. You’d go to school and then bunk off and go and buy records and try and get in to raves. By the time I was 13 that was everything. My brother would go to big house raves in the countryside or nightclubs down south or in Leeds or whatever. These sounds just seemed to take over England.
I was a bit late, but they were all going out to raves and stuff and we were like the younger brothers. So you get all the tapes they bring back and paper the walls in your room with fliers. It just seemed really normal, because the tunes are still good. I still listen to them now. It’s all just classic.
Who were some of the artists you remember most from that era?
Goldie, Ruffage Crew. I knew about him from his graffiti because I had some buddies in the West Midlands. England is really small, so if something good’s gonna happen, you’ll hear about it and drive down the motorway to go dance to it.
You’ve been in New York for about a year though. What made you want to move here?
I fly about DJing and stuff, but I’ve just got to live in New York, Paris, LA, somewhere I like. I could go home, but the sound just isn’t there. I love grime. I mean there’s some good new stuff coming out, a lot more interesting than certain rap at the moment.
Obviously grime and jungle are huge influences for you, but how did you get in to classical music?
Well, you kind of grow up with that as well. That’s a strange thing. A lot of people don’t know that, as a kid, you get classical music references like Beethoven, Mozart, or whatever. It’s human music and it’s not going anywhere. You don’t know who it is, but it’s all around, so that’s kind of a given as well. It’s cool to be interested in it and explore it or whatever, especially with the digital possibilities.
But how do you think that ended up working its way in to the way you actually structure and compose your songs?
I was always attracted to like cascading, poking melodies with a lot of soul. I want chord progressions to push and change. I can hear it with strings as well, but always with a certain solo instrument. With hip-hop, you can get a nice saxophone loop and put some drums under it and it’s cool, but to program a nice syncopated counterpoint that doesn’t really sit in a solid key range, something that can drift and push, it’s a lot more difficult.
I mean, you can just play some Twilight Zone, Exorcist type stuff, but it’s definitely a little bit more complex than that. I mean, ask Phillip Glass. There’s a few people that touch on it in that way and look at it as a philosophy almost. Personally, I just like to play around with it. I can see what they’ve done. I mean, fuck, most of my favorite Triple Six tunes are all Exorcist samples, or just the Exorcist piano loop.
I’m always attracted to that sort of sound, but I do like control. I like to leave the song as bare as possible, so you can hear the work as well. It’s like, if you build a watch and lift the face off the back, you can see the workings. I try and leave a song like that, rather than putting the face back on and gluing diamonds on, turning in to a Jacob. I don’t want a Jacob, know what I mean?
That’s why I’m obsessed with someone like Aphex Twin or Squarepusher’s music because you can hear the control in every bar. Any minute, you can just turn everything down and start fucking with anything. You don’t hear that in a lot of producers. To have control like that, to have everything syncopated at every second of every bar, fucking fine art to it.
Well that’s the biggest similarity between your music and classical music though. At least, structurally, you could take away one or two parts and the remaining piece would still stand on its own.
I mean, it’s composed. A lot of the songs I write, I could’ve had a band play them out or played it on the piano and padded it out with some acoustic drums or some strings or whatever, but I might choose to put some square synths under it instead. Sometimes I think there’s an art to just making a song the best it can be.
You could really turn any kind of halfway song in to like the best pop song. You could take “Stargate” and put Rihanna on it in a two million dollar studio and it would work with the right promotion. There’s also an art to doing that but without any of the glorification of it. There’s a longer lasting value in the end, but I suppose that’s always kind of been the value of underground music. If people still love it, it’s not going anywhere.
But you see a lot of producers doing that now. Have you had the chance to collaborate with any big rappers or pop singers?
I’ve had opportunities to meet people like Kanye and do this or do that, but I’m my own artist and as much as I’ve got respect for these guys, I’m not so insecure as to want to chase them. I’m definitely not the person that’s hoping for some superstar rapper to give me the spotlight. I’m far too busy.
I would sooner work with someone or have my ego flattered in that way if I worked with like Aphex or Phillip Glass or Burial or something like that. It’s probably more for my soul than sales or singles or having a hot beat that sounds like whatever. I could do that shit all day long.
Who were the guys you mentioned you were working with on Twitter?
Chronik from Slew Dem, a legendary grime MC, and another guy, Cas, like a sick MC. As much as I’d like to work with someone like Kanye, these are my guys, like legends from my world. All these people, Dizzee, Wiley. I’d like to work with someone from my culture, like Dizzee Rascal.
Can you mention any of the people that have approached you in the past?
A few pop stars and this and that. I can’t really. I don’t really want the pressure. I’m not really that interested. And when you’re self-employed like that, you feel it’s risky. It’s like, you don’t want part of your business to be owned by somebody else. I’ve got my own car in the race. I bought my own car and it’s racing and we’re doing really well. I don’t need anybody to refit the engine.
Respect to all these people that do that. If the music is good, fair enough. I don’t have anything against it, but I’m too busy on my own. I write in a flurry and I enjoy the work, so I’m not really hoping for this one to be the one. It doesn’t work like that. Honestly, I’d love to work with somebody like Kanye, but I’m not gonna base my whole shit around it.
One of my favorite concert moments of the year was hearing your music blasting out of the speakers in the rain before Radiohead came on in Santa Barbara. They pretty much played your album on that whole tour. Was that flattering at all?
I’m happy about that. I wouldn’t say I was flattered, but yeah they’re cool. It’s flattering a bit. When Aphex played my stuff out, it was more flattering. I was going apeshit for about two weeks. These are like dudes that you respect from when you’re a kid.
Have they ever requested remixes from you or anything like that?
Obviously, I could work with Radiohead or whatever. Thom’s hit me up and they’re fucking brilliant. I’ve got respect for them. I’d like to work with them, but when it’s all normal, it just gets done. For me, I’m not going to make crazy studio appointments to meet with the artists. I’m probably just gonna do my thing. If it was normal that way, like if I was working at Abbey Road, and there was somebody there and the shit was right, it could happen.
I know it’s something you’ve mentioned on Twitter before, but trap music in particular seems like it was created for those reasons you mentioned earlier, almost like it exists solely to be commercialized. Would you agree?
I like whatever it is that’s real, but I’m talking about like white middle class kids from the suburbs with t-shirts that say “Real Trap Shit.” They don’t know anything about pyrex. Where that shit really goes on, those kids really don’t want to be. So you’re best to have respect for that. That is a particularly proud genre. It’s not just fucking hi-hats and snare rolls.
Half the tracks sound like R&B to these trap kids, because all they want is booming kicks and snare rolls. Cool, that’s fine, but that’s not what it is. Trap shit or whatever has really come off like Trap-A-Holics, because the sound is actually a Memphis rap sound. It’s fully normal, but it’s become like a certain buzzword or whatever. It’s become another buzzword to sell certain tunes, but it is disrespectful if you come from those areas and you’ve got kids chattin’ that shit.
If soft kids come in to grime raves shouting that stuff, you get parted, but maybe this place is big enough to get away with it. You can have a trap rave in fuckin Bushwick or something. Maybe those kids are real. I don’t know. I’m not gonna go out and test them, but it’s a world away from what Lex and them are doing, I can tell you that. There has so be a slight responsibility for the artist to understand who originated it.
A lot of people see trends like that as their ticket to fame, so they just latch on to it without having any real knowledge of the history.
They’ve just turned it in to the next way to make a big drop. It sounded incredible three or four years ago. Mike WiLL, all the guys that make Future’s beats, they’re all monsters. That’s all sick and they’ve moved past trap.
But kids have turned trap in to something to put on a snap back, and that’s cool, but it’s a world away from pyrex and drum machines and gang tattoos and choppers, which is really where it comes from. Like 3 or 4 in the morning, room full of dudes fuming about to do some badness. That’s where that sound is born. It’s not born in a peaceful room.
Kids that talk about trap shit don’t what the trap is. They don’t know about any of that, which is cool. It’s probably better for them. Like yeah, just take the music then and ignore it. If you could do that with racism, it’d be fuckin brilliant. Just turn it in to a genre and just flood it out and end it.
That’s what they’re gonna do with trap. No one is gonna even know what it is anymore. They’ve turned it in to a weird trend. Now you’ve got super producers coming together to make like super-trap. It’s bullshit, man.
But you saw it with dubstep, which is now all over commercials and movie soundtracks, the way people were just in it for the money or saw it as a their ticket to fame. Doesn’t it feel obvious when an artist is insincere in that way?
Well, you don’t want people just trying to sell you something, and when you meet those people, they’re not even speaking the same language. I mean, all of those people hate me. They let me know that on Twitter all the time, but they don’t even understand what I’m talking about. They don’t understand the hard work.
Do you ever get criticized for not being genuine when you’re making jungle or hardcore?
There’s a lot of that going on. People will say to me, “How can you make jungle or hardcore?” But it’s not like some throwback sound, like I’m bastardizing some old sound. That’s my fucking culture that I grew up with. This is my fucking sound and my people that made it. It’s offensive enough to punch them in the fucking mouth because it’s our entire world. It’s ingrained.
Hopefully, it will come a point where artists will have enough faith in me to see me as an artist and a producer with a vision and it’s normal, because that’s what I’ve been doing the whole time. I mean, in all honesty, before I did ‘92, that shit was buried in England for ten years. It was like a dirty word. Nobody touched hardcore. The media had completely bastardized it and turned it in to some candy-raver glowstick bullshit.
We all knew the truth. We all knew it was good shit that we grew up with, but when I put that record out, it was like the trend half started again. It gave it some credibility, and it’s lads like me that do understand the real version of it and are still around.
Do you feel like part of your success is owed to the fact that you haven’t really ever aligned yourself with one particular genre though?
I just make whatever. I like it all and I’m proud of all of it. We went out to all these parties and bought all these records and I never had a favorite really. It’s like wearing one designer for the rest of your life. I just can’t do it. I’d feel like I have to progress this sound or whatever and I don’t even feel that responsibility within my own work.
It’s like, there’s nothing and then I’ll make a song and it’s hardcore or whatever. It can get as obvious as like, I’ll have been on a jungle binge for like a week and then I’ll make jungle for a week, but I don’t really have a set pattern. I probably should do that, but I am lucky in that the labels I’ve worked with have allowed me to do that as well. I can just make whatever I want.
Particularly on Dedication, I think you manage to convey more emotion than a lot of other producers as well.
It should. It should reflect reality in life. I’ve never been interested in making anything that just is what it is. I could just make massive bangers and cash in banger after banger, just some shitty Deadmau5 type thing. But that’s not what it is. It has to be a real reflection of something for you. So it’s half therapy for me and then it has to be something I’d like or I’d buy.
When did you start taking an interest in fashion?
My mom had us going to school in Gaultier and Dior and shit. You don’t really give a shit then, but by the time you’re 12 or 13. When I was 14, I was wearing Polo Sport, Moschino and Iceberg. 15, 16 – Versace, Valentino. In this age, it’s Givenchy and Balmain. It’s exactly the same shit.
My brother and his friends were the same. They were going to the football matches and fighting in like Dior blazers and Gaultier trousers. You’re talking about late 80s and early 90s but unbelievably well dressed.
Great clothes, great music. That sort of culture doesn’t really lend itself to somewhere like Saint-Tropez or Monte Carlo. It’s real people’s culture. Great music and great clothes are essential if you want to have a good time, so make sure that’s sorted out. Great drugs, good-looking girls and a good club, that’s coming next.
With all of these things, people that are rich and coming up in upper class areas would never ever think that kids are living like that down there. I know lads in council flats with fucking marble floors and jacuzzis.
What’s your relation to it now? I read that your music has been featured in some fashion shows.
I’ve not worked with any directly, but I’ve soundtracked for more than I can remember to be honest. Prada, Dior, loads of em.
I know you’ve been on sort of a tattoo binge recently as well. How did that get started?
My granddad was in the war and there were all these esoteric things like “Don’t ask your granddad about his tattoos.” He just had these green blobs on his arms. So I guess, a bit of that. It was probably embedded in me as a kid from then. Like at some point, “Yeah. I’m going to do that.” I mean, I’ve done it in different ways, like either I’ve had an impulse or something that I’ve thought about, like a mix of the two.
I like to go to proper tattoo places, like half-shit tattoo places, where there’s some old guy with a black eye and a bottle of whiskey sitting there, shaking on with Parkinsons or something. I can’t do the whole cool body art thing. I want it a certain way. I don’t really want it too hardcore, but at the same time I don’t want flagrantly beautiful tattoos. I want to do hands, neck. I’ve done most of my chest and a couple on my arms.
Would you consider it just as much of an artform as fashion or music?
There was a point where I realized that tattoos might never be able to be replicated in a mechanic sense, like being able to put your arm in a machine and come out with a tattoo. Like music, if it’s good, it’s going to have to come from humans. Just that interaction is enough to make it attractive in this day and age.
It did just kind of suddenly become attractive to me though. I went through a world of shit, so all of a sudden, normally when you’d be sensitive to the pain, having a tattoo you don’t really feel it. It’s like, if you walk through hell like that, these smaller things aren’t as much of an issue. Pain puts things in perspective, so it just switches things around a bit. That was the push for me to get a tattoo. It wasn’t like some nervous breakdown shit, but probably just to put things in perspective.
I suppose all of these things, music, fashion, tattoos, all revolve around a similar artistic philosophy in a sense.
They are all the same. Artists just reiterate an experience in to some kind of physical or sonic analogy so it can be solidified in to something other than a photo or a memory. Not all the time though. A lot of times it’s really random. It’s not always so meaningful. Sometimes you blast out songs and they become something after, then you realize that’s qualified with you being an artist. Other times, you study or you’re inspired, and you feel that you’ve done something that’s art.
I mean, you just blast out all of your work and you half know what you’re doing at some points or you really know at some points, and then at other points you haven’t got a fucking clue and you’re trying to find out after what you’ve done, and that’s probably gonna be your best work. That’s mostly where people are going to feel the emotion and feel what’s coming from your soul, because the whole time you’re doing it you’re completely shrouding yourself in it.
It’s the same way with tattoos, because it’s like you’re massaging your soul with a visual memory after. I don’t want anything beautiful. It has to be something that’s meaningful and not overly emotional. It’s supposed to be something you’re proud of as a man. Like, shit happens or whatever. Fuck it. Still crack on. And it’s not really like I’ve conquered that either. It’s about taking bullets and spitting them back out. That’s life really.
The Where Were U In ‘92? re-release was the first for your label, Cult Music. What is your vision for the label?
I have my own stable of new artists and there’s some more grime that I want to put out as well, but I’m not going to play any of those up. As soon as I say their names, people are going to approach them for deals. You don’t think I have A&R’s watching my Twitter? I’ve got everybody watching my Twitter. They don’t contact me and ask me stuff or offer me projects or anything. They just watch.
The artists are great. I’ve always wanted to have my own deck of artists, especially if it’s new artists. That’s always been attractive, but I’ve probably just come to the point where I can hear a song early and think, “Oh shit, I know it’s going to work.” And I’ve not been wrong once.
So are you planning on releasing part two of Where Were U In ’92? first and then forging ahead with Cult?
Yeah, I want to do part two. I want to finish off that project and then probably release a couple EPs or something. I’d like to do just a flurry of records at once and just establish the label, like five or six records immediately. But I know that’s probably not viable, so I’ll slow it down and see what happens.
What I’ve really been working on is the next album for 4AD. That’s what I’m really excited about. It’s gonna be good. Dedication, in all honesty, that record had to be done. I had to do that record, so now I’m probably gonna do the record I really wanted to do. Dedication was so personal and this one’s probably a bit more…it’s still pretty dark. It’s still the same sound. It sounds really fucking good, however it happens. Hopefully, it won’t matter.
Where Were U in 92 Pt. 2, I’ve got to do that record really, because I have so many of them. I could just do another album, but I’ve got loads of them. I’ve got like five or six years worth. I wrote a hundred this year and I don’t know what to do with them. I think it’ll be like Where Were U In ’92? Pts. 2, 3, 4, just keep writing them. They’re good fun. To me, it’s like you’re oil painting and you just throw paint at the canvas.
I still listen to jungle and hardcore, so now you have this desire to make it better and turn it in to something people want to buy now. I’m probably the last guy making that sort of shit. There’s still people making jungle and drum and bass and stuff, but I don’t like it. They’re making it on Logic though. I went out and got an Atari ST, got a tracker, got Cubase.
That was how a lot of those tracks were made when the genre first started, right?
That was the first stuff we were using to write when we were kids, so when I write those records I try to do 90% of it on that. It just sounds right. It’s interesting to use racks and racks of effects and stuff, but I can go to Abbey Road for that. I can’t go to Abbey Road and ask them to mix in a Game Boy and an MPC. They’re my own textures that I have to come up with, but that’s what I wanted. I wanted my own palette.
Everything else I know I can get from those studios or from those synths or whatever. We used to go inside music shops and sample synths and just walk out when we were like 15 or 16. That’s kind of the first age that you realize you’re mobile and you realize you really want to do this. It probably felt like you had a childish version of a synth or whatever, but that was all you needed.
It’s exactly the same thing I do now, just through an adult framework, and I release records from it. A synth costs $10,000 or whatever and I’d only need a fraction of what it does, so it’s just like, “Ok, I’m just going to take that.” You’d see kids buying these things that can’t even play fucking keys, and I’d be blasting around on it. That kind of pain really fuels you.